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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Carrabelle, Florida

Carrabelle is Surrounded by Water and Wilderness on the Florida Panhandle and Exudes a Mellow, Rural Vibe

Carrabelle is a working fishing village and deep water seaport on the eastern Florida Panhandle, about 50 miles southwest of Tallahassee. It dates from 1877 and sits at the convergence of three rivers and the Gulf of Mexico. Surrounded by water, open land and forests, Carrabelle exudes a rural, old fashioned Florida vibe.

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Harvesting seafood remains a way of life for many residents, with shrimpers and oystermen heading out to sea each morning. Sport fishing tourism helps support the local economy, with grouper, snapfish and tarpon in good supply. Although the downtown is a little nondescript, it has a grocery and deli, a seafood market, a hardware store, a gift shop and the "World's Smallest Police Station," which is a 1963 phone booth that is now a tourist attraction. There are also three other small museums. The waterfront is lengthy and authentic, and the Riverfront Festival brings out nearly everyone for food and people watching. Streets are lined with telephone poles, and neighborhoods have everything from tumbledown shacks and fishing cottages to nicer brick ranch ramblers.

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Tate's Hell State Forest and Apalachicola State Forest border Carrabelle to the north and are the place for camping, hiking and biking. They are also teeming with wildlife. Carrabelle Beach is just to the west and is clean, quiet and unspoiled by development. Dog Island, which is three miles offshore and reachable via a weekend ferry, has a wilderness preserve, portions of shipwrecks from an 1899 storm and beautiful unspoiled strips of sand (but no dogs).

Population:  2,800 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:   44%

Cost of Living:  8% below the national average

Homes for Sale Median Price: $360,000

Weather:  Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s.  Winters have temperatures in the 60s and 70s.  On average, the area receives 56 inches of rain per year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients:  Yes

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission:  No. The nearest accredited hospital is in Tallahassee, 50 miles away.  

Public Transit: No

Crime Rate:   Below the national average

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Conservative

College Educated:  28%

Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:   The area has been struck by at least three hurricanes, the latest being Michael in 2018, which caused significant damage.

Notes:  Many residents travel to Tallahassee, 50 miles away along country roads, for shopping and services. Weems Medical Center East is not accredited but has a heliport for fast transport to Tallahassee if needed. Carrabelle has maintained its population during the last decade. Home prices have increased 20% since last year.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?   Yes, although the non-accredited hospital and hurricane threat are concerns.

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Florida:

Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.

International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.

Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.

The state has 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.

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